Half Term Festival Fun

Restoring Pugin

It was a busy half term week for our Restoring Pugin Project Team, as they welcomed 600+ people to the Cathedral for #FOSAC2024

The Cathedral was pleased to join two days of Nottingham’s Festival of Science and Curiosity for the first time this year, during February Half Term. This annual festival is all about showcasing the world of science and celebrating curiosity with children and young people across the City and County. Over two days 620 people enjoyed a wide range of hands-on creative activities, in the Cathedral Hall and Gardens and the second day was especially designed for SEND families and groups. Festival partners included Catalent and the University of Nottingham and different partners offered a variety of activities including chemistry and mineral experiments, mindful embroidery, geology, Lego and KNEX building. The slime making activity was particularly popular, with children having the chance to make slime in a colour of their choice and to take it home with them!


As well as these fantastic activities offered by Festival partners, we were delighted to be able to offer a ‘Restoring Pugin’ twist to the days’ activities. Our Restoring Pugin Paint Conservator, Debs, demonstrated paint stencil techniques using some of the recently uncovered Pugin designs discovered in the Cathedral’s Unity Chapel. Our trainee paint conservators, Mary and Emily, then helped children to make their own Pugin-themed stencil-patterned crowns and bookmarks.


Our Research Fellows from Nottingham Trent University were also on site demonstrating the exciting new technologies which are being developed as part of our Restoring Pugin Project. Children were able to try on and use a virtual reality headset, which takes them on virtual journey through the Cathedral as it is now. In time, this will be further developed to enable people to experience the different decorative paint schemes in the Cathedral since its foundation. Children were also able to road-test our heritage conservation game, which makes use of the data being collected through real-time environmental monitoring of the Cathedral through its digital twin. The game gets young people to think about how to look after our heritage and encourages them to consider a career in the heritage sector. Anamalai Selvarajan NTU Research Fellow in Game Development, said ‘It was a great opportunity to see children’s reactions to the game prototype and this enabled us to do some useful real-time research with them, to see how the game could be improved further.’

“It was a fantastic two days. We are thrilled with the attendance and the range of people of all ages and abilities who came along and got so much out of their time with us.  It was a brilliant opportunity to show some of the progress we are making with our Restoring Pugin project now we are approaching the halfway point.  Participating in the festival has again demonstrated how much potential there is within this project for wider groups of people to engage with the Cathedral.”
Restoring Pugin Engagement Manager Helen Martinez

We are already looking forward to hopefully joining the Festival of Science and Curiosity in 2025. The Cathedral’s participation in this year’s Festival was made possible thanks to a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This activity facilitated a range of engagement and participation outcomes for the Cathedral’s Restoring Pugin Project. It also enabled the Cathedral to develop and deepen links with a number of SEND groups including; Bennerly Fields SEND School, Space Inclusive and Rumbletums Café.